github of Collapse OS
Bootstrap post-collapse technology
Winter is coming and Collapse OS aims to soften the blow. It is a Forth (why Forth?) operating system and a collection of tools and documentation with a single purpose: preserve the ability to program microcontrollers through civilizational collapse. It is designed to:
- Run on minimal and improvised machines.
- Interface through improvised means (serial, keyboard, display).
- Edit text and binary contents.
- Compile assembler source for a wide range of MCUs and CPUs.
- Read and write from a wide range of storage devices.
- Assemble itself and deploy to another machine.
Additionally, the goal of this project is to be as self-contained as possible. With a copy of this project, a capable and creative person should be able to manage to build and install Collapse OS without external resources (i.e. internet) on a machine of her design, built from scavenged parts with low-tech tools.
- Can assemble Z80, AVR, 8086 and 6809 binaries.
- Can program AVR microcontrollers.
- Has a command line text editor similar to Forth’s traditional editor as well as a visual text editor inspired by UNIX’ VI.
- Has a visual binary editor.
- Has the full power of a reasonably well-featured Forth interpreter.
- Known to run and self host on very tight machines across multiple CPUs. See hardware support list.
- Exceedingly simple: Approximately 3 000 lines of “real” code (excludes extras, CVM, emulators, POSIX tools, doc, but includes everything a post-collapse computer would need to fullfill its purpose on all supported arches).
- Has mass storage support. Currently on:
- SD cards
- 5 1/4″ floppies
- Runs on any POSIX environment through a VM implemented in C.
- Built from a POSIX environment with minimal tooling: only cc, make and curses are needed.
Collapse OS can be downloaded here.
Documentation is in text files in “doc/”. Begin with “intro.txt”. Alternatively, James Stanley hosts an online Collapse OS documentation browser.
Collapse OS can run on any POSIX platform and builds easily. See “/cvm/README” for instructions.
You are inspired by Collapse OS and would like to fund its development? I don’t do any kind of crowdfunding, but if you happen to be a rich philanthropist, maybe we can do something.
The best place to discuss the project is on its private mailing list.
Collapse OS was previously hosted on Github and it has a few interesting discussions in its issues.
A lot of questions that you might have may already have been anwered in a big discussion about it occurred on Reddit. I’ve answered many questions there.
There was also a nice conversation on Hacker News about Collapse OS (and then another one and another one), but I didn’t participate because I don’t have a HN account. Also, this community doesn’t seem collapse-aware (although they did seem to warm up to the idea lately) so the idea of participation into this discussion seemed tedious to me. But the user “yellowapple” did a good job of answering many questions in a way that is similar to what I would have.
Here is a list of related efforts that I find noteworthy: